Sometimes you read a post that just is SPOT ON!
This time it is Russell Davies with a big post about how the value of branding is being overtaken by what I call Contribution Marketing and Purpose Driven Innovation (Russell: “They’re turning from the people who create perceptions of value to the people who create actual value – the designers, technologists, innovators”)
Here some highlights of the post:
“There was a point in the 80s when branding was the future of business. Businesses realised you could stick brand value on their balance sheets, so they did. Consultants realised they could charge a lot of money for advice about brands so they did. And the money people looked to the branding people (often conflated with the marketing people) for all the money making ideas. So you got line extensions, big ads, expensive logos, brand onions. You got branding. And most of it was as intellectually rigorous as phrenology. Actually it was probably more like Scientology; it was somewhere between a fake religion and a false science.”
Branding is being replaced by design/technology as the future of business.
“The dismal nature of the branding science has started to become clear to business recently and they’re starting to vote with their investments and appointments. They’re turning from the people who create perceptions of value to the people who create actual value – the designers, technologists, innovators. Hence branded utility, hence ‘design is the new management consultancy‘, hence the current Business Week heroes being IDEO and Ives not CHI and Chiat Day. Hence the limited tenures of CMOs. Hence the rise of communications businesses that can actually make stuff rather than just think of stuff.”
“I know the grass always looks greener but the contrast between the branding business culture and the culture of ‘web 2.0’ and design innovation is worth marking. They seem to delight in sharing every little thought that crosses their minds, they tend towards open events, intellectual curiosity, and huge ambition. No wonder business finds the language and culture of design and web2.0 infectious and engaging in comparison to the smugness and false doctrines of the branding business. There is energy, optimism and a thirst for outside influence in their conversations that I don’t see in talk about brands.”
The way forward
“I think it’s the hubris we have to get rid of. Launching logos is not the way forward. A logo should be repository of meaning, not a substitute for it. And you have to build that meaning, not borrow it. We should be announcing smart and interesting things and then saying; by the way, this is the logo for it.”